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Mating system variation and morph fluctuations in a polymorphic lizard

  • Mats Olsson
  • Mo Healey
  • Erik Wapstra
  • Tonia Schwartz
  • Natasha LeBas
  • Tobias Uller
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 5307-5315
Publication/Series: Molecular Ecology
Volume: 16
Issue: 24
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

In polymorphic male painted dragon lizards (Ctenophorus pictus), red males win staged contests for females over yellow males, and yellow males have greater success in staged sperm competition trials than red males. This predicts different reproductive strategies in the wild with red males being more coercive or better mate guarders than yellow males. Yellow males would be expected to sire more offspring per copulation and have a greater proportion of offspring from clutches with mixed paternity. However, here we show using microsatellites that the frequency of mixed paternity in the wild is low (< 20% on average across years), that all morphs on average have the same number of offspring sired per year, and that mating system variation (polyandry vs. monandry) is strongly correlated with perch density on male territories. Furthermore, a logistic regression on male successful vs. unsuccessful mate acquisition showed that red males were under negative selection when they dominated the population, which suggests ongoing frequency dependent selection on male colouration.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 0962-1083